04
Feb
10

The Morgan Mine Prt1

I have often said that man does not know all that is of the earth.

I have said that man sometimes, in certain cases, should not know everything that there is to know about this tiny speck of dust that we travel through the cosmos on, and call our home. Scientists strive to understand the natural world; they try to categorize it, to classify it, to learn its secrets. I harbor no ill-will against these brave souls that dare to search out the unknown and make it known. But, I believe that these men that call themselves “scientists” are not really looking deep into the earth’s most innermost mysteries. They are quite content with studying the latest new insect or bird; they have no interest in knowing the true mysteries of this world, and beyond. I do not blame them for this either. I wish I too was content to spend my life studying the birds, the insects, mammals, or even the earth or space. Alas, it is not so, or was not so, as it stands now. I sought to learn the innermost mysteries, to know what few men have dared to know, much less actually known. Why I have always been like this I cannot say, for I do not even know the reason why.

I grew up in a small hamlet in the heart of New England back in the ‘50s. It was an almost idyllic life for me. My parents were solidly middle-class. They owned the latest automobile and the latest gadgets for the home and kitchen. We were living the American dream. But I was not satisfied with this, I wanted something more. I wanted adventure and mystery. I felt the urge to go and see strange lands, brave the darkest tombs of the ancient god-king pharaohs of Egypt.  Something restless was in my soul, something that I could not keep hidden and under control for long.

Several of my friends and I were caught one year, when I was about seventeen, exploring an abandoned mine outside of town. The mine was strictly off-limits to everyone, but we went in anyway. I had often heard stories of strange sounds and lights that were heard and seen around the mine at night, and me and several of my more adventurous friends decided that we would go and investigate this place. We were caught before we were able to find anything, and our parents made us sit in the city jail for the night before they would go and pick us up. After that incident, my parents forbade me of venturing out with my friends after dark, something that I greatly resented at the time.

But that is all past us now, I am well over 50, approaching 60 now, and my days are almost done. I shall soon pass from this dark, wretched world into a place I like to believe is a little lighter, or at least less full of horrors than this place.  I know not what I saw that night when I discovered that size of my folly when I decided to investigate the Morgan Mine, in New England.  It was not the same mine as from my childhood, but similar stories had circulated about the Morgan Mine. It was dug deep into a hill in the wild lands where Indians used to roam; but they to shunned it before the white man had finished driving them away.

The Indians believed the land where the Morgan Mine would later be built was cursed, and they would not go near it. They said that their horses spooked easily around the hills, and that the deer and rabbits were too large and their meat tasted foul. The trees, they said, grew twisted and diseased, and the wood would burn cold and would rot sooner than wood from other areas. The white men that came to settle did not believe the stories the Indians told around their campfires, and soon they had set up a small town near the base of the hill. The town remained small, and the legend of the cursed land died away as the years past. The curse seemed to clear away as the years past as well, with the trees growing straighter and sturdier, and the animals’ flesh growing sweeter and more wholesome.

Then rich ore was discovered within the hill, and a mine was commissioned to be built to harvest the riches hidden beneath. By this time only a small handful of people remembered the old stories, and they had grown old, and the people thought that they had simply slipped into some harmless form of insanity. Work on the mine began quickly, with no complaint, and soon it was beginning to produce the prized ore. The town grew quickly as more labour was required to work in the mine, and it grew from a quaint little village to a bustling mining town; reminiscent of those of the far west years before. But as the mine penetrated ever deeper into the hill, a change was creeping over the land. It began slowly at first, and in such a small way that almost no one noticed it. Later, they would say that it started near the mouth of the mine. It was barely noticeable when it started, just a slight browning of the grass and leaves of the few plants that still survived near the mine. The miners took no head of it since winter was fast approaching and it was to be expected. Then spring came, and as the rest of the land grew green and lush, the land around the mine stayed brown and dead. As the spring progressed, the blighted vegetation spread ever further from the mine, and people began to grow concerned. They feared that some toxic chemical or other pollutant was being spilled and that it would soon enter the water supply. An investigation was launched soon after, but it was unable to determine the source or the cause of the blight. As spring changed to summer the dead area grew ever wider, with the grass now turning a sickly grey and the trees developing tumorous growths over their trunks and branches. Later the leaves fell from the ghastly trees and the landscape was left in a grey and dismal state. The plants now crumbled to ash at the slightest touch, and the wind never blew across the accursed land. People instinctively avoided going through it, and as it approached a nearby road, people began to take different routes just so that they would not have to look upon it.

This blight has continued to grow ever since that fall when it first started. It has never stopped for the winter, nor for anything that man has tried. After several years it reached the town, and many people fled in terror away from it, abandoning their homes so that they would not have to live near the abomination that approached from the mine. By now Morgan Mine had been closed for almost a year, after the workers refused to go through the diseased land to reach the mine. It was whispered, before the mine closed, that dark rituals were performed within the deepest caverns and that some of the miners had caused the evil that had slept in the mountain for so many years to awaken again. Of course, very few people took these mutterings seriously. They lived in an enlightened age after all. They thought that everything could be described by science, and most things had already been classified. They did not believe in dark rituals or ancient daemons as the people of New England did years ago.

It was during this time that I was a young investigator and historian of little distinction. My thirst for knowledge of unknown things set me apart from many of my peers. I would sometimes be able to convince someone to finance one of my expeditions somewhere; but it was not often that I was able to secure funding. This was one of those times, I had saved money that I had earned from several menial jobs that I had taken to have enough money to survive and spend it to go to Morgan Mine and see what was housed in that dark abyss. It was not an easy task to save enough money to travel there, but I would have no expenses once I got there. All the houses where abandoned, and I could take my pick of all the free lodging that I could ask for. The only covenant was that I would have to carry all my food, water and equipment in with me. This I did not mind, since I was going to be able to basically stay as long as I needed to, free of charge.

I did not have a car at the time, so I had to hire a taxi to take me out to the abandoned town. This was no small or easy task, since everyone avoided the area around the town where the grass no longer grew and had turned grey. I was finally able to convince a particularly brave fellow to take me as far as the edge of the blighted area. For this I was very grateful, even if it did mean that I would have to walk about another mile into town, with my gear. After he dropped me off he sped away, trying to get out of sight of the cursed land as fast as possible, lest it somehow stop him from ever escaping.

I watched the taxi disappear into the distance, and then turned the other way and started down the road towards the desolate town. The landscape looked just as it was described to me during the numerous interviews that I did with former residents if the town before the unholy blight beset it. The grass was grey and it crumbled to ash as soon as I touched it. The trees also had the same deathly pallor to them, albeit they were sturdier and did not crumble under my hands. On my trip to the town I did not once see or hear a living thing, whether it was birds or squirrels, or even the buzzing of insects. An unnatural silence permeated the landscape, and I found the silence to be both deafening and eerie to the extreme. Such silence, especially for a man that had lived most of his life within the warm confines of cities and places where other men frequent, made me apprehensive, and I had to mentally calm myself.

After the nerve-wracking walk, I topped a hill and gazed down at the small town below me. It stood out in stark contrast to the ashen landscape, because the buildings and streets still held their colour against the ever present grey. I soon was inside the town, and began searching for a house to stay in while I conducted my investigations in the mine. I chose a late-Victorian style home near the other side of town, on the road heading up to the mine. I easily broke down the ageing door that barred my entrance to the dark interior of the house, and made my small bed and living quarters in the living room; which incidentally looked towards the hill that Morgan Mine had burrowed into. It was getting dark, and the hill was silhouetted against the setting sun. I set up my small electric light, and set to work making myself a small supper. After my little meal, I decided to call it a night, and crawled into my sleeping bag. I fell asleep quickly, but my dreams were haunted with things that I cannot describe, terrible, twisting things that never held a definitive shape for more than an instant.  I also experienced a sort of dread in my dreams, a dread that I could not I never awoken from my troubled slumber, but when morning came I woke unrefreshed, and tired.

After eating a measly breakfast, I gathered up my equipment and set out for the mine. The walk was neither long nor difficult; the mine lay not even a mile out of town and up a gentle incline. I made it to the gates at Morgan Mine in less than an hour, and only slightly out of breath. The gates were locked, but I easily broke the rusty lock that bound the two chain link gates together. No one would care about my action, since nobody came up here anymore. They had abandoned the mine to the unnatural forces at work. I made my way through the broken gate and walked past the abandoned mining buildings that were spread around the entrance of the mine. Soon, I stood at the great yawning maw of the mine, and I could not help but shiver involuntarily at the sight of it. As I approached it, I felt something that, after what felt like so long without feeling it, made me shiver even more. It was a small, but very apparent breeze that was blowing into the mine. It is a well-known fact that many caves do this to some extent, but after so long without a single breath of air, it felt very strange; and instead of it being a welcome relief, it only heightened my tense nerves. Suddenly I was gripped by a very intense desire not to go into this mine, to turn around and leave that place behind. I steeled my nerves though and took another step towards the entrance.

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